DENVER -- The Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday refused to reschedule marijuana, keeping it as a schedule I controlled substance, declaring it has "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."
It keeps the drug in the same category as heroin, cocaine, LSD and Ecstasy. The decision comes after it consulted with the Health and Human Services Agency.
It concluded marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the U.S. and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.
The DEA said it will allow more studying of marijuana by letting more institutions grow pot plants for research.
But a Colorado mother Marisa Kiser strongly disagrees with the decision, saying marijuana has saved her young son's life.
She brought her son, 4-year-old Ezra, across the country to begin using medical marijuana because doctors had run out of ways to treat him and gave him little chance of survival.
Now Kiser said he's getting better every month and calls it nothing short of a miracle.
Ezra Kiser wasn't expected to live past his first birthday. He was born with a severe form of brain disorder that led to having up to 500 seizures a day.
"Just starting high CBD cannibis oil, we saw a 95 percent reduction in seizures," Marisa Kiser said.
She said doctors had him on dozens of medications, including morphine, fentanyl, dialudide and phenobarbital.
"It didn't matter how much they were giving him, he couldn't go more than a hour without screaming in pain," Marisa Kiser said.
As he worsened, they had to put Ezra in a medical coma.
"They said, 'OK so the doses are getting so high at this point we're not comfortable giving him any more unless you agree to sign an DNR. And if he stops breathing we'll have to put him on life support and you'll have to let him die,'" Marisa Kiser said.
Instead, she took him home for hospice care when a friend called.
"She said, 'Can I bring you some high THC oil' and I said, 'At this point, what's it going to hurt, he's on hospice?'" Marisa Kiser said.
She gave Ezra very high doses of cannabis oil, which put him into a deep sleep.
"And after three weeks, he woke up bright eyed, smiling, lungs clear, and he's been fine since he hasn't had a distonic attack and pain in a year," Marisa Kiser said.
A former specical education teacher from the South, Marisa Kiser said she is still amazed that marijuana held the key.
"That was never a thought in my mind, that I would ever give my child a medication like that, and then to have it work so miraculously and to be able to get all of these other medications out of his system, he was basically comatose most of his life," she said.
She is now starting to communicate with her son for the first time. She is frustrated the Food and Drug Administration won't recognize marijuana's potential.
"I think it's absolutely absurd that there's no medical benefit," she said. "I personally am not a proponent for rescheduling. I'm a proponent for descheduling."
Marisa Kiser produces her son's THC oil using organically grown marijuana she raises herself.
She's afraid the DEA rescheduling it as a drug will put it in the hands of big pharmaceutical companies and take it out of the control of families like hers who benefit from its use.